Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg will testify before a key House panel next week, the Congressional House Energy and Commerce Committe announced Wednesday. Zuckerberg will face the committee on April 11. It’s the first of three potential hearings where he could face questions about Facebook’s data privacy practices. “This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online,” said Committee Chairman Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, and ranking member Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, in a statement.
Privacy issues abound for Facebook
The announcement comes on the heels of a tumultuous month for the social media behemoth. Facebook and Zuckerberg are still reeling from the fallout from a scandal caused by news that data firm Cambridge Analytica used data on 50 million individuals that was harvested from a “personality prediction” app on Facebook for political targeting purposes during the 2016 election campaign. In response to the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle, Zuckerberg announced in late March that Facebook would audit suspicious apps for misuse of personally identifiable information (PII). In March, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) told a panel at a Washington Post event that Zuckerberg should testify on Capitol Hill about where technology is headed. “I definitely think we need transparency,” Cantwell said at the time. “My colleagues have certainly — Senator Klobuchar and others — proposed legislation to make sure we have fair and honest elections online. That is, that people comply to the same laws that you have to comply to for advertising and information that we do in the broadcast world. So that’s one aspect of this. And then the other aspect is just transparency. We need to know and understand how information is being used and who is behind that information.” In late March, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed that it is investigating Facebook for possible privacy violations. The US isn’t the only government entity interested in getting to the bottom of what happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. The United Kingdom and the European Union have announced their intentions to investigate whether their citizens’ data was also compromised. Make sure to check in next week here at MarTech Today for our coverage on this important event.
Robin Kurzer started her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark on the advertising and marketing world in Chicago at agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning work for many major brands. For the past seven years, she’s worked as a freelance writer and communications professional across a variety of business sectors.